Mike Smith plans to keep it simple when he rides favored Game On Dude
in Sunday’s Grade II San Antonio Stakes, a forerunner to the Grade I
Santa Anita Handicap on March 2, a race the classy gelding won in 2011.
“Stay out of his way,” the Hall of Fame rider smiled when asked about strategy in what is expected to be a short field.
In a more serious vein, Smith knows competing riders can alter
their routines in an attempt to throw a heavy favorite off kilter in
quest of an upset, especially in a small field.
“Things can happen in short fields, as we all know,” Smith said.
“Everyone knows where everyone’s at. Each rider can kind of sit there
and make it a sprint for home, but Game On Dude’s a naturally quick
horse and has a great cruising speed.
“I’m just going to let him do his thing, and I’d do that even if
it was a bigger field. We’ve just got to get away well and get him in a
place where he can do what he does best, and that’s run. That’s my job,
anyway. Hopefully, he does the rest.”